Things I wish I'd known before playing osu! on Linux

Total Posts
Topic Starter
Hi! Having played osu! on Linux for over 7 months now, I think I've finally got a setup that I'm comfortable with. However, I learned a lot of it the hard way, making mistakes that hindered my progress and made the game less enjoyable.

In this post, I'll detail a few of the problems I came up against playing osu! on Linux, and how I fixed them.

(I use Ubuntu 20.04, but most of this isn't distribution-specific. Some of it assumes you use PulseAudio.)

Part 1: Linux-specific things

Getting started

There are multiple great guides for running osu! on Linux using the Wine comptatibility layer. I have used the Ultimate Guide in the past. There is also Katoumegui's guide (on the Arch wiki, but adaptable to other distros).

Audio latency is the Most Important Thing

Audio latency is the Most Important Thing you need to fix for osu! on Linux. You will struggle to play harder maps with good acc if you have high latency, especially on slower hardware.

Audio latency can be defined as the amount of time between you physically tapping a button on your keyboard and hearing the hitsound be played. For whatever reason, in osu!, this interval also governs the delay between you tapping and the tap being registered by the game. (At least, this is what it feels like is happening. I have no evidence for this other than that, when I made my latency small, my clicks felt like they were registered much sooner than before.) As a result, it is extremely important that this delay is as small as possible.

How do you go about reducing latency? You have at least two options:

Option A) 'I'm not afraid of switching to PipeWire'
If this is the case, install PipeWire! Don't listen to me - listen to the replies to this post singing its praises :)

You can install PipeWire on Ubuntu and other Debian-based systems using this helpful guide. Once you've done that, configure it following the instructions in this guide, which is not distro-dependent.

Option B) 'I want to stick with PulseAudio'
ThePooN's guide is a good, if slightly out-of-date resource for this. It is written in the context of Arch Linux, but can be adapted to any distro using PulseAudio. To do so, ignore the bits about using his patch for Pulse, and just make the configuration changes that are suggested near the end. There is a noticable difference.

Tablet drivers

Use OpenTabletDriver. That is all. If things don't work, follow their excellent FAQ.

You can feasibly mess around with the default system drivers to try to get things to work, however this involves a lot of tinkering with X11 configs - something best avoided at all costs (I say this from wayyy too much experience).

The Weird Lazer Quirk

I stumbled across this by accident. If you have a tablet that seems to be horribly smoothed when you use it with OpenTabletDriver, try downloading osu!lazer. With your tablet plugged in, run it. Once it's loaded, you can close it. Try using your tablet - there should be much less smoothing. I have absolutely no idea why this happens, though I plan to have a trawl through the lazer source code to try to find out, at some point.

It seems that this must be done every time your tablet is plugged in or when your computer is restarted for this to have an effect.


Don't turn on 'raw input' in settings. Wine has had problems with this for ages and likely still does. In the best case, it will have no effect, in the worst case, it will make everything break.

Set your sensitivity to 1x if using a tablet, or you'll experience weird jumps when moving the cursor to the edge of the screen.

Part 2: everything else
These are things that apply no matter what system you're using. I just thought I'd include them for completeness.

Don't buy the cheapest tablet

The cheapest tablet that I see recommended for osu! is the XP-PEN Star G430S. This tablet will work, but it won't do much more than that. It has nasty hardware smoothing, is a bit too small, and will break after about half a year of usage.

Personally, I am a fan of my 'One by Wacom' CTL-472. I managed to get this tablet for only £10 more than the G430S, and the investment is well worth it. I will update this if it breaks on me - as of now, it's still going strong.

Consider linear keyswitches

Do you have a mechanical keyboard? Does it have non-linear keyswitches (blues, browns, greens, etc.)? Can you change the keyswitches in it? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then you may want to consider installing some linear keyswitches for your tapping keys. I use Cherry MX Silent Reds, and find it much easier to tap accurately with this than with my previous browns. Mostly this comes down to personal preference, but if you've never considered it before and have trouble with acc, you might want to consider trying it out.

Pls enjoy game

Not having fun? Take a break. Hands hurting? Take a break. Feeling tired? Take a break. This game is fun, but is also addictive. If you're just playing for the sake of it, take the initiative to stop and do something else for a while. You'll enjoy osu! much more after you've taken a little time off :)

That's all from me. I'll update this guide with new things I come across. If you have any other tips or suggestions please leave them below, and I might add them. Have fun!
The inclusion of Francesco and Poon's guide doesn't seem appropriate anymore as they're both rather outdated (both uses Wine 3.x while Wine 7.0 is nearing release).
PulseAudio is also kind of a pain to configure compared to Pipewire.
For all intents and purposesthis guife from Katoumegumu should be used instead.
I've been daily driving EndeavourOS for about a month and a half now, and here's just a response to some of the stuff you said in the OP:

I have the XP Pen G640 old edition yet I have 0 complaints after 2 years of on and off usage (see playcount). I'll upgrade to a Wacom tablet eventually but I don't have a reason to atm.

Also, pipewire is wayyyyy easier to configure than Pulse and performs a lot better in my experience.

Regarding the switches, I tried to switch to red switches but the lack of the tactile response compared to browns really hurts my acc. My stamina is mildly better with reds but my acc is quite shit. seems to be personal preference like you said

I'm not saying you're wrong on anything here, it just seems to vary quite a lot for each person
Most of this is outdated.
Topic Starter
The inclusion of Francesco and Poon's guide doesn't seem appropriate anymore as they're both rather outdated (both uses Wine 3.x while Wine 7.0 is nearing release).
Ah, I apologise. I didn't realise that. I'll take a look through that guide you linked and investigate Pipewire. Thanks.
Yup, osu! on Linux sucks... But hey, at least osu!lazer, McOsu and opsu! work.

Yes, I switched back to Windows 11 just because of osu!(\s), YES I MAKE OUT WITH MY BODY PILLOW!
Topic Starter
I've updated the post with the suggestion to use PipeWire, having managed to get it working. You're all right, it's a hell of a lot better than Pulse.

osu! on Linux sucks
It sucks by default, but it's really not difficult to get it to not suck (and even potentially suck less than Windows...)

SnowLire wrote:

The inclusion of Francesco [...] guide doesn't seem appropriate anymore as they're both rather outdated ([...] uses Wine 3.x while Wine 7.0 is nearing release).
While the guide mentions wine 3.x, I totally disagree on it being outdated
It is for a very good reason I asked staff to make that one pinned as it is by far one of the more simple guides to follow, still works perfectly (I based my own installer script to almost everything that is mentioned in there) and while it may not be the most "optimized", you do not have to risk breaking your entire system audio like with poon or generally do not have to tinker around as much just to get the game running

I have been playing osu on linux for a few years now and it is definitely better than ever. Still a bit of a task to get everything setup the way you want or need it to be but in terms of latency, with current wine and Francescos guide my latency is slightly better than on windows without fucking around in any config files or doing some wizardry elsewhere
I am having issues running OpenTabletDriver on Wayland, McOsu detects my pen as mouse button input but the cursor is stuck. It works fine on X11 but I want to use wayland because it has less screen tearing.
Please sign in to reply.

New reply